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Lives of the First World War after the freeze

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Keith_history_buff

With regard to the Battalion URL, this is broken down to the following elements

The "base" element
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/searchlives/south wales borderers

The rest of it

Prefix1 Field Prefix2 ValueInstance_1 Prefix3 ValueInstance_2 Suffix
/filter/%257B%2522            
  lifecycle.service.unit.section          
    .keyword%2522%253A%257B%2522        
      1st%2BBattalion      
        %2522%253A%2522    
          1st%2BBattalion  
            %2522%257D%257D




Any gaps in the text need to be replaced with %2B.

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Keith_history_buff

Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, the permissions that had allowed this sort of advanced search, with nested query URLs, has been disabled within the past few weeks, so it's only the standard query via their pre-determined filters - Place of birth, Rank, Unit [Regiment], [Branch of] Service, Country [associated with address/location] - in addition to what gets typed in the free-form search box.

I guess that disabling this reduces potential workload spikes, and is in keeping with a standalone low maintenance permanent digital memorial.

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Keith_history_buff

Announcement from IWM on Friday 06 September 2019:

' Lives of the First World War. 

 Amendments and bug-fixing will continue until the end of this month, after which time the database/site will be final. We will be closing down the Lives social media channels at this point, which we have already started to publicise. However, in the future it will still be possible for the public to request amendments/takedowns for the following reasons:

  1. Breach of the General Data Protection Regulation, i.e. display of personal data relating to a living individual, without the consent of that individual
  2. Breach of copyright e.g. an image has been added to Lives without the copyright owner’s permission
  3. Content has been added that causes offence e.g. image added to a profile that is not of that person, use of offensive language in text.

Please advise [members of the public] to get in touch via this this form. Unfortunately we cannot accept submissions of new information or images into the database. 

This information can also be found in the Lives FAQs here.

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Madmeg

umm. 

Not great I found- tried a search for SIMMONDS - the filters are very slow to use and having selected them there is no "search" function that I could find- you just have to wait and see if it actually applies the filters- anyhoo, it only lists two Simmonds born in Shrewsbury- seems odd given how common the name is there - even odder as only one of those names belongs to one of my grandmother's brothers. It shows her brother Richard Gordon- except that he had jumped ship in 1910 so never served in WW1! But I suppose that is because they are working off a dataset which runs to 1919. But where is her oldest brother? Well I searched using his name (Henry Burton) and found that apparently IWM thinks he was born in Isleworth! (no he wasn't he really wasn't) plus there are two of him showing up- both have the same birth date- he became a warrant officer so a different set of records but he is duplicated. A search under Henry B fails to show him at all. As I already know that my GF's records show up under both full name AND initials on TNA I was hoping this site might have pulled everything together better but obviously not. Grandmother's youngest brother got signed up under SIMMONS - haven't seen what sort of a mess it has made of his time line yet. Other brother was in AIF so presumably isn't there at all.

Not convinced that it works very well on my experience, pity , it would have been great to have an easy to use one stop shop for the confusion of records out there, still not to be I guess.

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charlie962
19 hours ago, Madmeg said:

Not great I found- tried a search for SIMMONDS

If you have access to Findmypast they do search this database in their military category. So it might be an easier way of searching ?

 

Keith will hopefully respond with his view ?

 

Charlie

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Keith_history_buff

With regard to Meg's comments, the Permanent Digital Memorial is as good or as bad as whoever took the time to crowdsource the info. I have come across people who used "Lives of the First World War" who were expecting the entries to have been magically populated ad-nauseum.

If you worked on a given profile, and you added a source, you will see your username, which for me is Keith1947. I can do a search using this to bring back all the profiles for which I added sources and the like. If I add a surname, this will limit the search results.

If Meg has populated a profile with lots of data, and is aware of her new GDPR-friendly obfuscated id, then she should be able to perform the above.

There was no data quality performed when the shell entries were "seeded", so you are at the mercy of whatever the crowdsourcers added. It would be interesting to know just how many profiles were not updated whatsover by any contributor - I did find it depressing to see so many "untouched" when I navigated through search results when the LOTFWW data was dynamic up to March 2019.

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Keith_history_buff

I will try and respond to what has been written, based upon my comprehension. There are other threads on this forum that have mentioned the methodology used in the "seeding" of the LOTFWW database.
 

20 hours ago, Madmeg said:

It shows her brother Richard Gordon- except that he had jumped ship in 1910 so never served in WW1! But I suppose that is because they are working off a dataset which runs to 1919. But where is her oldest brother?

 

If I understand correctly, Richard Gordon Simmonds was a rating in the Royal Navy, and he had a shell of an entry that was "seeded" based upon the ratings' service record description in the ADM 188 series of TNA's catalogue. There was no way of determining which of the ratings had left the service prior to 2 August 1914. The "seeding" was done blind, and was done on the assumption that each of the ratings who enlisted from 1901 onwards were to participate in WW1. (As an example, Henry Chable was a sailor who deserted prior to WW1, and fled overseas. When war broke out, he was a British national living in France, joined the Foreign Legion and was killed in action on 25 September 1915.)

If you were to look for a sailor who enlisted prior to 1901, and who participated in WW1, the chances are that he did not get added, owing to the metholodology, which has been discussed elsewhere.
 

20 hours ago, Madmeg said:

But where is her oldest brother? Well I searched using his name (Henry Burton) and found that apparently IWM thinks he was born in Isleworth! (no he wasn't he really wasn't) plus there are two of him showing up- both have the same birth date- he became a warrant officer so a different set of records but he is duplicated. A search under Henry B fails to show him at all.

 

As I understand it, he was an NCO in the Royal Marine Artillery, and then he was commissioned. He has two "seeded" profiles, one from the Royal Marine service records and one from the officer set in ADM 159 and ADM 196 respectively. As has been mentioned elsewhere, there was no organised attempt to avoid duplication - as a member of the public, you could make the request to have profiles merged by the volunteers.

No birth place was captured, and it would appear that it was I who added Isleworth as birth place. (I see that it does state Shrewsbury on his RMA service record, based upon the TNA preview.)

One glitch with LOTFWW was that if you opened a new window with your browser, a given profile became "live", whether you wanted it to occur or not, and sometimes this led to data being added to an incorrect profile. This underlines the importance of the source-based approach. If you are looking at J12345 Jack Tar, yet a piece of info was added via a service record for 3/4567 Tommy Atkins, it can be determined that a crossed wire scenario has occurred.

The data has been added, on a "best endeavour" basis by various crowdsourcers, and it ought to be able to work back to the various sources that were attributed to the individual, rightly or wrongly. Hopefully, these can be checked out if you are a FMP subscriber, I am not.
It has a link to his 1911 Census entry, I see
https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBM%2FLIVES%2F6937034

As for the BMD entry, the code of
BMD/B/1882/4/AZ/000505/024
as copied from the Profile ought to be viewable on FMP thus
https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=BMD%2FB%2F1882%2F4%2FAZ%2F000505%2F024

20 hours ago, Madmeg said:

Other brother was in AIF so presumably isn't there at all.

 

The AIF service records were used to seed the AIF entries in the database. Have you searched the AIF B2455 series of records?

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/NameSearch.aspx
 

20 hours ago, Madmeg said:

Other brother was in AIF so presumably isn't there at all.

Not convinced that it works very well on my experience, pity , it would have been great to have an easy to use one stop shop for the confusion of records out there, still not to be I guess.

 

If you did not bother to contribute to the database, then there is the inherent risk of incorrect info being added, or of nothing being captured. Both scenarios seem to have happened here.

 

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Madmeg

Cheers Keith, Thank you for all your efforts working on the database. I just came across the various references to it through this thread and thought I would take a look- I already have info on all the brothers but just that quick look as a cross reference against what I already have gave me the impression it wasn't as helpful or useful as it could be- lots of wasted opportunities I think. 

 

I did note above that I assumed Richard Gordon went in because the data set ran from 19something to 1919 so the assumption would be he served all of that. And the NAA site is a great resource - pity the British records for so many were lost. Note that NZ enlistments are also available online through Archives NZ and can be downloaded for free.

 

And no I didn't "bother" to add to the database- because despite doing huge amounts of family research over the years I have no recollection of it being promoted on any of the sites I regularly go onto so wasn't even aware it was happening- until it had already happened. Pity they didn't involve familysearch in this as at least all their records aren't hidden behind a paywall and for those of us who can't afford subscriptions and use it as our initial go to search site it would have been nice to have it there. :-)

 

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Keith_history_buff

With regard to LOTFWW, I have commented at length on other threads, and won't waste time by repeating what is elsewhere, with regard to the execution of the concept.

Meg does make a very good point, in terms of public awareness of LOTFWW. What is of note, in relation to LOTFWW, is that when I was handling user enquiries towards the end of the project, there was some appreciative feedback. The one comment that did keep coming up was that they had only just become aware of the existence of the project, and had they known of it earlier, they would have contributed sooner. 

The good thing about a contributor getting involved in the last 12 months of the project is that the volunteer infrastructure did mean that requests were being dealt with, and as such the project seemed "loved" and operational. This is in stark contrast to the first 12-18 months of the project, where a lot of goodwill was lost with potential users who could have perceived the LOTFWW project as being "unloved" and unsupported at that point in time.

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George Lee Temple
On 16/09/2019 at 20:49, Keith_history_buff said:

With regard to Meg's comments, the Permanent Digital Memorial is as good or as bad as whoever took the time to crowdsource the info. I have come across people who used "Lives of the First World War" who were expecting the entries to have been magically populated ad-nauseum.

If you worked on a given profile, and you added a source, you will see your username, which for me is Keith1947. I can do a search using this to bring back all the profiles for which I added sources and the like. If I add a surname, this will limit the search results.

If Meg has populated a profile with lots of data, and is aware of her new GDPR-friendly obfuscated id, then she should be able to perform the above.

There was no data quality performed when the shell entries were "seeded", so you are at the mercy of whatever the crowdsourcers added. It would be interesting to know just how many profiles were not updated whatsover by any contributor - I did find it depressing to see so many "untouched" when I navigated through search results when the LOTFWW data was dynamic up to March 2019.

A lot of information 'went west' when Lives of the First World War 'froze', including biographical information not linked to external source documents (clearly the site was set up to run like Ancestry, focusing on individuals and 'family tree' building, rather than considering service in common units/ ships etc), attachments of MICs, service & census documents, and the option to contact past contributors seemed to disappear also. The result is that, what was becoming a really useful source, is now a shadow of its former self. A pity that funding could not have been secured to continue the site in its original form, or turn it over to an organization which was prepared to continue it. Information from the current site can be found now on Find My Past - which might be an easier way to access it ? 

 

Also, the IWM didn't put all the eligible names on LotFWW. Notable omissions are at least some of those who didn't serve overseas, RN pensioners recalled to service and merchant seamen. Contact with the IWM to add names resulted in: 1. instructions on how to use the search function; 2. the assertion that only the IWM could add names; 3. offer to provide evidence of eligibility (e.g. service documents, existing medals) ignored. Given this, I guess that I shouldn't be so surprised that I find the frozen site disappointing ?

Edited by George Lee Temple
additional info

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Keith_history_buff
7 hours ago, George Lee Temple said:

A lot of information 'went west' when Lives of the First World War 'froze'..... The result is that, what was becoming a really useful source, is now a shadow of its former self. Information from the current site can be found now on Find My Past - which might be an easier way to access it ?

 

When LOTFWW was live, it was indeed possible to message a person who had worked on a profile, to ask further questions.

If you were a subscriber, you could also access any records that had been attached, so as to see for yourself. If you look at the PDM, you are now faced with an obscure FMP reference. These can be converted into URLs (see 4 posts previous), but you need to be a FMP subscriber in order to see that record. For some of the LOTFWW "shell" profiles imported into FMP, there are some links to the FMP records directly, and no URL conversion is needed.
 

7 hours ago, George Lee Temple said:

A pity that funding could not have been secured to continue the site in its original form, or turn it over to an organisation which was prepared to continue it.

 

There are a lot of people that would agree with this comment. Whilst the PDM site is an archive of some of the LOTFWW data, with little maintenance from IWM for this static data, the one positive is that a *.csv download for an individual profile, or for a grouped Community, can be downloaded. They are massive, and the sheer amount of columns can make it a challenge to navigate, but I am very grateful for the fact that the download facility is there.

It is a pity that not all of the data was migrated across, but I have asked for it to be provided, so it can be used with PDM downloads and other data sources for mashups. I would like to emulate the old style of timeline, rather than the new style, which I personally think is inferior. Fingers crossed the IWM will provide the requested data this month, and I will find myself in a position where I am saying "be careful what you wish for." 

With regard to the latter part of your statement, it could be argued by the IWM that they are "passing on" the data to whoever is prepared to continue their research, only this time the end-user will have to create their own website or similar.

 

7 hours ago, George Lee Temple said:

external source documents..

 

With regard to "external sources", such as books, periodicals etc which were not web-based, they are not "enabled" to appear on the website, but you will find them in the export. They are not visible, rather than having gone west & disappeared.

This man, Paul Maze, has two books associated with him. If you take a download of the CSV export, you will find the details. He authored one of them, and Winston Churchill wrote the preface

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/searchlives/paul lucien maze/filter


 

7 hours ago, George Lee Temple said:

the IWM didn't put all the eligible names on LotFWW.... Given this, I guess that I shouldn't be so surprised that I find the frozen site disappointing ?

 

Yes, this has certainly been raised before. One commentator has referred to the IWM biting off more than they could chew. Whilst the project had some lofty ideals, and a lot of good activity has been done by the crowdsourcers that gave up their time to research those that participated in the Great War, it was hindered from the start by a lack of resources in the UK. 

If a compelling business case was put forward by a requestor for an individual to be added to the LOTFWW database, and an historical source was forthcoming (i.e. surviving service record for a Home Service soldier with no MIC, sailor who enlisted prior to 1901 so info was not with FMP), then it could be manually added by an unpaid volunteer, as long as the correct forum had been used. Even then, the volunteers could be facing a request based upon a record in Ancestry. They would have to beg, borrow or steal the time of a friend who was an Ancestry subscriber to double-check that record prior to creating a new profile. The IWM did not provide access to Ancestry.

The fact that nothing was actioned until August 2015 would not have inspired confidence in a potential user of LOTFWW prior to that point in time, I daresay.   

On the flip side, whilst there was the medium by which extra profiles could be added, there are a lot of profiles in the database that were not added to by any crowdsourcer, and that's not the fault of IWM as I would see it.

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Keith_history_buff

One strength of the LOTFWW was its source-based approach. It was possible to determine where an anecdote had come from, or an image. That audit trail functionality seemed to have disappeared with the successor PDM platform. When data points and functionality fail to reappear in a successor platform, you have to ask questions as to how much "permanence" is being provided, and whether effective stewardship is taking place.

I am pleased to see that attribution is back in place for anecdotes, as can be seen for the example of Norbert McCrory:
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/57400

Source_attribution_for_story.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

Similarly, if an image was added, and attribution details were added in the "additional" text box, this can be seen.
 

Source_attribution_for_image.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

The use of a timeline can effectively recount the life story of an individual, and the timeline functionality of LOTFWW was one of its key strengths.

I worked with a woman called Helen to enhance the details of George Wroe, a Canteen Manager during WW1, who was a retired CPO. Fortunately, Helen printed out a copy of the timeline to a PDF file, and I have been able to extract the various elements. I felt it did a good job of showcasing how the timeline was informative.

 

It was like the Ancestry timeline insofar as an image could be associated with a timeline event. This is particularly useful for sailors, where the image of a ship can be added. At the foot of the event, the source used to populate it can be seen. This is provided as the description of the source, i.e. "England and Wales Deaths 1837-2000 Transcription". 

 

Hereafter are the elements from that timeline

Birth and family
George was born in Salford on 7 October 1851. He was to join the Royal Navy as a Boy in January 1867
 

Wroe_001.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

Military Service

George joined as a Boy 2nd Class on 28 January 1867. His engagement as an Ordinary Seaman 2nd Class commenced on 7 October 1869, his eighteenth birthday. This was hinted at by an article in Navy & Army Illustrated in 1896. His early service is documented in ADM 139, but was not accessed until after the timeline had been populated. His service record in ADM 188 documents his service from 1873 onwards.

In 1879, having fulfilled ten years of very good service, he was awarded a Long Service & Good Conduct medal. In 1880, he was awarded a RHS bronze medal for an act of lifesaving at Bastia Roads whilst aboard HMS Cruiser.

He was posted to a shore-based role at HMS Excellent on 12 September 1893. In 1896 he was given special permission to serve until 7 October 1901, his fiftieth birthday.
 

Wroe_002.JPG

Wroe_003.JPG

Wroe_004.JPG

Wroe_005.JPG

Wroe_006.JPG

Wroe_007.JPG

Wroe_007b.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

The end of Naval service and his civilian career at the Canteen
During his years as a Gunnery Instructor at Whale Island (HMS Excellent), he instructed a future monarch, and seems to have established a reputation as a strong character on the instructional staff. Although he had permission to continue serving in the Royal Navy to 1901, the Canteen Manager role became vacant, and he was discharged from the Royal Navy on 10 October 1898 in order to take up this role.
image.png.b0258605137c174c63a046161f00431c.png
 

image.png.72b922bfd2e4e5ef760288a416941b14.png

 

 


Link to scan of article
https://media.iwm.org.uk/pdm/ciim-media/91/249/698/91249698.jpeg

Wroe_008.JPG

Wroe_009.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

Family life
His first wife died in 1899, and he remarried in 1903. He became the father to three daughters.

 

image.png.56deb4b28e3d9660f4225465616fb5e3.png

 

 

image.png.610910df3b18988e7c4826a1be52e329.png
 

Whale Island's Canteen under "Teddy" Wroe

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/113664


image.png.f059a3d7bf05e0ee34f63393dbee39e9.png


image.png.dc7f6f76d02bdeeb8cf5b4ed2dac4f26.png

 

A letter to his sons
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/114595

 

image.png.d765e787d5828ad7307b8973f40e0c25.png

 

The Tournament Teams
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/111470

 

image.png.1112e1827e4d1d1a25ffab6197f79010.png

 

 

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Keith_history_buff

His death, and obituaries
image.png.a39cb7fa27c7779aec2b3f2716adbb16.png
 

A letter to George's widow
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/114606

 

image.png.9181db0d2aa0ad17b6afe143861fa340.png

 

Naval funeral at Milton
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/111499

image.png.24d657233d60a53b26afbd8344e59ddc.png

 

 

Tribute from "one who knew him"
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/114958

image.png.76bf4e3368e19f6696114d85a809b4e8.png

Obituary in Daily Mail
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/story/114966

image.png.4d42b1703aa37c1389878c0473536957.png

 

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Keith_history_buff

Compare and contrast the above with the timeline in the Permanent Digital Memorial:

 

The timeline can be horizontally aligned or vertically aligned. I changed it from the default horizontal, so that it ran vertically, from top to bottom.


Part one

His birth, the birth of his siblings, his enlistment for a 12 year engagement in 1869, award of two medals, his discharge in 1898, his siring of various children.

 


 

Wroe_01.JPG

Wroe_02.JPG

Wroe_03.JPG

Wroe_04.JPG

Wroe_05.JPG

Wroe_06.JPG

Wroe_07.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

Part two - military service

Under the LOTFWW setup, a given line item relating to military service was only enabled to appear if it was associated with dates. Similarly, if an address - a military base, a hospital, a place of residence - would be enabled to appear on the timeline if it were associated with dates, too. 

The current setup does not enable addresses to appear on the timeline. Any "to" and "from" dates have been lost.

The current setup plots every line item of military service on the timeline. All of the dates have been lost.

What follows is, to my mind, an exercise in chaos and ambiguity.

 

Wroe_08.JPG

Wroe_09.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

Part three - marriage and death

Some anomaly has resulted in each wife having a "marriage" which ran from their birth date to their marriage date. The death date is successfully recorded.

Images are no longer associated with events. Similarly, stories with dates no longer appear on this new timeline.

Wroe_10.JPG

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Keith_history_buff

It would be desirable for the missing data to be provided, so that if anyone with the inclination and the wherewithal desired to emulate the old style timeline, they could do so.

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Matlock1418
2 hours ago, Keith_history_buff said:

It would be desirable for the missing data to be provided

Too right it would!

Keith like you and others I am very disappointed with IWM LOTFWW as it now stands

As a member of the public who worked as a quasi-Volunteer and worked on thousands of Life Stories to various levels over four years with dozens of documents attached, mined for hundreds facts and entries for my family alone [and the many more for the rest] I am horrified by the current output by IWM - it does not deliver.

I entrusted my research to their keeping, for public view - not so available now :-(

Enormous amounts of data that had been input has been lost - I feel that I seriously wasted all my time [hundreds of hours] and I would think the official Volunteers and many other people feel very let down

I feel cheated and feel the wider public has been robbed of what was promoted as the No.1 WW1 database project by IWM

Amongst annoying quirks the timeline display is remarkable in attributing events - even to after a man's death, and yet those events cannot be found elsewhere

Sub-units below regimental level have been lost, as have dates of service etc.  etc.  etc.

The old database used for original input held all the available data even if not looking 'pretty' at least it was functional

I am now rather ashamed I 'advertised/promoted' LOTFWW to my friends and relatives - it has not delivered and has made me look an idiot!  That's certainly how I feel now.

IWM - I would like that old 'ugly' style data entry/database back for all, as it was much more effective - Please!

What to do next to try and revive this project and its output to the wider public???

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